by R.T. Fitch, author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart”
Image, Cloud’s grandson captured by the BLM – (Photo by Terry Fitch)
I have sat at this computer and tried to put into words my feelings after viewing Ginger Kathrens‘ third installment of the “Cloud” series on PBS last night. It’s not coming easy as there are a variety of emotions at play.
I’ve come to realize that I have not nor can not shake the feeling of helplessness and pain I felt as we stood next to Ginger, Makendra, Ben, Ann, Pam, Carol and other wild horse advocates and watched the Cattoor helicopter torture and torment Cloud and his family on Labor Day, September 7th, 2009. We had done everything that we could think to do to stop the BLM assault, but all to no avail. We had begged and pleaded with news agencies and politicians to get the word out and maybe someone, somewhere would pull the plug. Perhaps even the new President might show some compassion, but all our cries fell upon deaf ears and as we sat, day after day, watching the helicopter drive the horses out of the mountains in 95+ degree heat, our hearts sank.
I watched Ginger’s presentation which delved deeply into the family ties and instincts that both drive and bond a wild horse band together, only knowing that Cloud’s family was, now, ripped to pieces by the BLM. Not only did he lose family members, but his mares were pumped full of chemical contraceptives so that they will not bear foals for him for many years, it could be the end of his blood line.
I watched the documentary and took note of how hard Cloud tried to keep his family together, over the years, only to be fully aware that his children and grandchildren would be stripped from his herd to be sold at auction, never again to live free of fences and human meddling.
It was difficult to appreciate the fantastic and spectacular cinematography skill of Ginger Kathrens as my eyes were clouded by tears and the images often where nothing more than moving, colored blurs as I fought to maintain my composure.
So much lost, nothing to gain and I could garner no joy by watching Cloud on the TV knowing that in the future, our current past, he would be abused, maligned and mismanaged into oblivion by the very same government agency that is bound by law to protect him. There is no justice.
I recall Cloud’s bravery as he would not follow the straight and narrow path that the abusive helicopter sought. I will never forget him stopping well in front of the trap’s gate and turning to face his enemy, the helicopter. Forever carved into mind is the image of Cloud turning and trotting with head held high into his awaiting prison cell; pride and supremacy ran from every pore of his body. And I will never forget him trying to stay near the pens, once released, as he did not want to leave without all of his family…I will forever remember his courage, dignity and his family bond.
How is it that a horse, a wild one at that, can act and live with more dignity and grace than the so-called leaders of our political juggernaut, I shall never know?
Editor’s note: The Documentary is fantastic, insightful and thought-provoking. The feelings, expressed here, are driven by the misguided actions of the BLM and do not reflect upon the quality or intent of the PBS documentary. It is important for the plight of the wild horse to be out in front of the American people and Cloud puts the face on that issue.